With the current situation continuing to challenge all of us mentally and physically, i’m sure a few tips on how to boost your metabolism naturally won’t hurt, after being on those make shift diets and improvising with alternative ingredients to all sorts for quite some time now. Maybe adding some of these basic principles below to your daily routine could get that fire in your belly back and help you to shed some pounds in the process? A lot of the below is basic but overlooked by many and I incorporate all of them into my daily diet. I hope it can help you too?
What Is The Metabolism and How Does It Work?
The word metabolism derives from the Greek word “metabolē” which means change and is the set of chemical reactions of organisms in our bodies. The purpose of the metabolism is to convert the food and drink into energy on a cellular level. It does this by converting proteins, lipids, nucleic acids (DNA) and carbohydrates into organisms that grow and reproduce, while also maintaining their structures and are able to change with the environment. It is a complex system but basically, everything we eat or drink gets converted into energy which allows us to function (why didn’t I say that in the first place? Sigh).
A fast metabolism means you will need to take in more calories to maintain your weight, while a slow metabolism means you will burn fewer calories and have to eat less to avoid putting weight on. It is the reason why some people can eat limitless amounts of fast food, while people at the opposite end of the scale only need to sniff a nugget and they feel the shirt button start to pinch (this last part isn’t true but you get the idea hopefully).
Food and Drink – Burn Baby Burn
It is been said a million times before but eating the right things can make the biggest difference when trying to not only boost your metabolism but to maintain healthy diet long term. We all know that feeling when eating a large portion of pasta or bread, that within the hour you’ll feel like you swallowed one of those old Looney Tune anvils, with no intention of wanting to eat ever again. That slovenly, pathetic disappointment when your blood sugar rises and insulin rockets in an attempt to bring levels back to normal.
Lean Mean Meat or Nut Machine
The body burns more calories digesting protein than it does eating fats or carbohydrates. Increasing portions of lean protein and replacing carbs can boost the metabolism and increase the thermic effect of food (TEF). What this means is that when the body burns calories, it generates more heat to do so. Between 20-30% with protein to 5-20% or carbs and even less for fats (see study). The process also helps you feel more full and prevent overeating.
Good sources of LEAN protein include:
- Lean Beef
Hot and Spicy Will Do Nicely
Spicy foods are another way to speed up your metabolism. More specifically peppers, they contain a substance called Capsaicin which is the main ingredient which turns up the heat when you have a curry or have one of your spicy sauces. When you eat these you get hot, and when you get hot you start to sweat. This is the same process as that of a workout and will for that brief period speed up your metabolism.
Good sources of spicy products are:
- Cayenne Peppers
- Piri Piri
- Habanero sauce
Drink More Water – That’s An Order
The most basic of liquids – water – can help, especially if you drink a cold glass. This again triggers Thermogenesis by heating your body up to process the cold fluid. Drinking a glass of water before every meal has shown to help when dieting due to the fact of not eating as much and not taking in as many calories. A study of overweight adults found that those who drank half a litre of water before their meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t (see study).
Green tea can be beneficial for weight loss by helping the body’s metabolism to be more efficient. It contains caffeine and a type of flavonoid called catechin, which is an antioxidant. Research suggests that both of these compounds can speed up metabolism, with Matcha tea having a larger amount of catechin than the usual loose-leaf green tea.
Drinking coffee is a go to for people all around the world daily. We need that caffeine fix to jump start our day. It is not just good for this purpose. Studies have shown that it can increase the metabolism and encourage fat burning with many athletes drinking coffee to increase their resting metabolic rate (RMR) also (see study). It is good for people that drink coffee regularly to maintain steady weight loss over time as a study has shown (see study).
Other drinks to consider include:
- Black tea
- Apple cider vinegar
- Ginger tea
Other Ways to Supplement Your Metabolism
Another way to boost the metabolism is with the use of supplements. A good protein powder could work the same way as lean meat would and there’s a plethora of fat burning tablets on the market. I have never got on well with these though. After using them once, I descended into a bit of a downer and I didn’t know why? The only change to my diet was the tablets…so I stopped taking them and I felt myself again a couple of days after. I gave them to a friend and they got on OK with them (must just be me). There is also a large variety of slimming teas on the market, as with anything always read the label and seek the advice of a GP before you try. As I have heard stories from friends of them scrambling to the bathroom after drinking these…so BEWARE!
Doing a high intensity workout will rapidly boost your metabolism, as it will burn fat and increase your metabolic rate. Mix your workouts up a little, I like to do sprint training as I find this really gets my heart rate up and burn calories galore. I normally do a two lamp post sprint and two plodding. I’m blowing big time by the end but I feel like I’ve had a really decent workout.
Lifting heavy during workouts will also help, as you will retain muscle and combat a drop in metabolism. You may even burn calories on your rest days doing this type of training. Just be careful when lifting heavy weights, as they can cause serious injury.
I know what you’re thinking…simply eat a fillet steak with a boiled egg on top, covered in piri piri sauce while doing squats. If only it was that easy right? The thing here is to use common sense with the above into your existing “balanced” diets and tweaking things slightly can make a big difference. Remember to have that glass of milk at the ready if you have any kind of spicy food and regular exercise, no matter how intense or heavy will get the metabolism working that bit harder but take things at your own pace and never push things too hard. Always remember to listen to your body when working out.
If you do or use any of the above let me know your thoughts below.
Always seek advice of a doctor before any changes to your diet.